Snow expected to blanket state with 3 to 6 inches

January 20, 2000|By Rafael Alvarez | Rafael Alvarez,SUN STAFF

When you went outside to get the paper this morning, one of three winter scenarios was waiting for you.

The biggest snowfall since February 1996, when nearly 10 inches fell.

Not enough accumulation to ice down a pitcher of tea.

Something in between.

While predictions are not promises, National Weather Service meteorologists are calling for the third possibility. According to warnings from forecasters in Sterling, Va., a winter storm that began moving toward the mid-Atlantic region from Missouri yesterday was expected to blanket Maryland with 3 to 6 inches of snow today.

The storm was expected to hit Western Maryland about midnight, intensify, and move across the state throughout the day before heading to sea by the evening rush hour. The weather service said snow will be heavy before dawn, with significant accumulation expected by noon.

In preparing to clear roadways for this morning's rush hour, the State Highway Administration put about 2,200 workers on standby.

"It's pretty straightforward. It will snow from southeast Maryland to Garrett County all of Thursday morning and end sometime in the afternoon," said Dewey Walston, a weather service forecaster. "We're not sure when it will end, but probably by about 4 p.m."

About an inch of snow that fell in the Washington suburbs Tuesday kept some school buses in Prince George's County from getting children home until after midnight. Icy roads led to school closings and delays yesterday in Montgomery, Prince George's, Allegany, Calvert, Charles, Garrett, Somerset, St. Mary's, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester counties.

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